Canada: Good opportunities for high tunnel veg growers

Jazeem Wahab of Agriculture Canada in Saskatchewan says the lack of intensive, high value vegetable production on the Prairies isn’t due to large infrastructure or production startup costs, nor is it because the northern Prairies’ season is too short and cold. It likely has more to do with a lack of producers that have been interested in taking the plunge into vegetable growing.

“It can be done very profitably and sustainable right here. The market for produce is there in our urban centres and the grocery chains are showing more interest than ever,” said the veteran crop researcher.

Wahab says grocery buyers have a need for steady supplies of vegetables, and that has often kept them from seeking out regional production, as it generally is only the product of seasonal cropping.

The Western Producer asked Wahab for some of his insights into low tech, high value production of crops like cantaloupe, peppers and tomatoes.

“We have some producers growing year round under glass, but for farmers who want to grow seasonally with high or low tunnel plastic (sheet) greenhouses there are some real opportunities, especially if they have access to some labour,” said Wahab, during a July field day at the Canada Saskatchewan Irrigation Diversification Centre in Outlook, Sask.

Source: The Western Producer

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